Just over a month after the start of the school year, the new online learning academy in public schools in the Winona area is progressing well.
Jolene Danca, who is the director of the WAPS Online Academy, gave a brief presentation to the school board during Thursday night’s meeting.
The WAPS Online Academy serves a total of 66 students – 15 in grades K-5 and 51 in grades 6-12. The numbers have fluctuated slightly since the start of the school year as students and families have felt comfortable with the program.
âSome families have found that the rigor of the Edgenuity is quite high, higher than they expected,â said Danca. “It’s different from what high school was using last year.”
There are two full-time staff members who directly support the program, one responsible for primary students and one who supports secondary students.
Danca said the two staff – Melanie Anderson and Jill Nysse – were good at communicating with students and families and meeting their needs.
The district also has a licensed science teacher to help students take science lessons on the platform.
The WAPS Online Academy has received interim approval from the Minnesota Department of Education, but WAPS has a transition plan to make the academy a permanent option for students. It is the only alternative to traditional in-person teaching for the 2021-22 school year.
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Update of the rear parking lot
Michael McArdle, Director of Buildings and Grounds, provided an update on the completed parking lot project, which included a complete reconstruction of most of the rear parking lot, new sidewalk plots, an accessible ramp and a new walking path leading to the baseball field.
The only part of the rear parking lot that was not completely renovated was the music wing parking lot. This is a newer area of ââthe parking lot and can be treated with minor repairs and ongoing maintenance, McArdle said.
The project was funded by remaining funds from the $ 9.42 million community approved referendum in fall 2018. These projects were completed on time and nearly $ 1 million under budget. The reason this additional project was chosen is that the price of $ 783,000 would be difficult to fit into the long-term facility maintenance budget.
There are still funds that McArdle plans to use to upgrade the clock system in place in all buildings. The total cost of the project exceeds what’s left, so he’s working closely with the architects and engineers at Wold to determine what is a need versus what is a desire.
WAPS Safe Learning Plan
Superintendent Dr. Annette K. Freiheit said the Incident Command Advisory Team continues to support the current COVID-19 mitigation strategy plan already in place, which includes a universal mask mandate during teaching hours and for teaching programs.
The latest COVID-19 dashboard update revealed six new positive cases in the district during the week of September 30 to October 6, leading to the quarantine of an additional 19 people. There are a total of 30 positive cases and 67 people to be quarantined so far this school year.
The school board unanimously approved the appointment of Ruby Hetzel as the representative of the undergraduate school board.
Hetzel was one of four students interviewed for the job.
Hetzel will not have a permanent seat at the board table, but will replace meetings that Ella Skranka, representative of the secondary school board, is unable to attend. She will work closely with Skranka to provide the student perspective at board meetings and will be ready to take her place at the board table during the 2022-2023 school year.
The WAPS Board of Directors first added a student board member in 2019-2020, when Cooper Hancock joined the board. Issara Schmidt was the other student representative.
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